Best duos in Kansas City Royals history

Written by:
May 16, 2022
Schyler // Wikimedia Commons

Best duos in Kansas City Royals history

In Major League Baseball, it takes more than one skilled player to field a championship contender. It takes talent all over the field at a variety of positions, both in terms of pitchers and hitters. While having a star pitcher and a star hitter at the same time is no guarantee of success, it does put your team in a position to have the type of season that fans will talk about for generations.

While it’s not quite the same as the NBA, where one standout duo can take a team from the cellar to playoff contention, it’s not uncommon for an outstanding season from a pitcher and position player duo to add 20 wins or more, according to Baseball Reference’s wins above replacement player metric. The number is designed to illustrate the difference between a star player and the type of player that would be considered “replacement level”—that is, one who could be easily signed as a midseason free agent or called up from the minor leagues.

The following is a list of the top pitcher/position player duos in Kansas City Royals history. Using wins above replacement, Stacker compiled a list of the seasons in franchise history that had a pitcher and hitter with the most combined value. Note that, for the purpose of capturing and examining the game's "modern era", only seasons after 1969 were used for this list.

#10. 1978 Kansas City Royals
- Amos Otis: 7.4 WAR (#2 position player in 1978)
- Larry Gura: 4.5 WAR (#22 pitcher in 1978)
- Total: 11.9 WAR

#9. 1993 Kansas City Royals
- Greg Gagne: 3.2 WAR (#71 position player in 1993)
- Kevin Appier: 9.3 WAR (#1 pitcher in 1993)
- Total: 12.5 WAR

#8. 1989 Kansas City Royals
- Jim Eisenreich: 3.1 WAR (#60 position player in 1989)
- Bret Saberhagen: 9.7 WAR (#1 pitcher in 1989)
- Total: 12.8 WAR

#7. 1988 Kansas City Royals
- George Brett: 5.2 WAR (#25 position player in 1988)
- Mark Gubicza: 7.7 WAR (#1 pitcher in 1988)
- Total: 12.9 WAR

#6. 2009 Kansas City Royals
- Alberto Callaspo: 2.5 WAR (#100 position player in 2009)
- Zack Greinke: 10.4 WAR (#1 pitcher in 2009)
- Total: 12.9 WAR

#5. 1975 Kansas City Royals
- John Mayberry: 7.2 WAR (#6 position player in 1975)
- Steve Busby: 6 WAR (#13 pitcher in 1975)
- Total: 13.2 WAR

#4. 1977 Kansas City Royals
- George Brett: 7.6 WAR (#4 position player in 1977)
- Dennis Leonard: 5.6 WAR (#12 pitcher in 1977)
- Total: 13.2 WAR

#3. 1987 Kansas City Royals
- Kevin Seitzer: 5.5 WAR (#15 position player in 1987)
- Bret Saberhagen: 8 WAR (#3 pitcher in 1987)
- Total: 13.5 WAR

#2. 1980 Kansas City Royals
- George Brett: 9.4 WAR (#1 position player in 1980)
- Larry Gura: 6 WAR (#4 pitcher in 1980)
- Total: 15.4 WAR

#1. 1985 Kansas City Royals
- George Brett: 8.3 WAR (#3 position player in 1985)
- Bret Saberhagen: 7.1 WAR (#3 pitcher in 1985)
- Total: 15.4 WAR

Trending Now